By: Lyndsey Brueckner and Sadelle Finney
On the chilly morning of Thursday, the Empty Pockets Balloon Team met at Thunderbolt Middle School to show and teach kids about their balloon “Synchronicity”. The 275-pound (fabric alone) nylon balloon costs anywhere between $40,000 and $45,000. The Synchronicity needs to heat up to about 32 million BTUs (British Thermal Unit) in order to take off. The average house fireplace heats up to about 75,000 British Thermal Units.
Jeff Haliczer, the pilot and owner of the Synchronicity, Off the Wall and the High Top Flier, said, “I love ballooning. It is a great event to share with others and have fun.”
Haliczer has traveled all across the country, visiting many ballooning events along the way. He has owned the balloon for quite a while and this will be his sixth time participating in the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival – which will be this weekend.
Haliczer’s quote for the Synchronicity balloon is, “Time spent ballooning is not subtracted from one’s lifetime.”
Haliczer will host two ballooning camps this year, the camps are the Rio Grande Balloon Camp and Great Eastern Balloon Camp. These educational camps help young people learn more about becoming ballooning pilots. For more information, go to http://www.bfacamps.com/.
In case anyone is wondering, nylon balloons don’t catch on fire because they are never close enough to actually have the flames touch the fabric. These balloons can land practically anywhere, but safety is important.
Balloons can make emergency stops in the middle of traffic only if needed. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The balloons can go a farther distance in the cold and a shorter distance in the heat. Synchronicity takes 20 minutes to fully ascend. The balloon is three stories high.
Lyndsey said, “I had a lot of fun seeing the balloon and going to all the way to Longview to go get Sadelle and the crew. I thoroughly enjoyed being out there and helping the crew set up and close up. Ballooning is a great experience and I think it is a great family activity.” Sadelle said “I really enjoyed being able to fly in the balloon with the crew and getting to experience this day with my amazing friends.”
The three girls had their first ballooning experience and got to celebrate it with the crew. They popped open a cool bottle of sparkling apple cider, learned about the very first air balloon, and said “Cheers!” to the whole ballooning experience. In the end, Lyndsey, Bobby Jo and Sadelle had a lot of fun with the crew, and we would like to thank them for the wonderful experience.
Lyndsey Brueckner, Sadelle Finney and Bobbi Jo Bohnker enjoyed the ballooning experience.
Edit by Becky Maxedon, RiverScene Magazine.
Feature Photo cutline: Cutline: From left to right: Mrs. Mulligan (Thunderbolt Principal), The Empty Pockets Balloon Team Crew: Mark, Dana, Jeff, Sadelle, Karalyn, Ken, Charito, Spyder, Kim and Rusty.